Consumerist posted a story yesterday about a pregnant traveler who was bullied through the scanning machine at O’Hare in Chicago.

As consumers of air travel, we are often made to feel as if our rights are stripped away the moment we walk through the doors of the airport. And though we must submit to certain procedures if we wish to fly, we are entitled to choose a pat down if we are uncomfortable about going through the scanners for any reason.

Scanners are x-ray machines. Low level radiation is emitted with every scan. Any woman knows that we are asked each time we are x-rayed by a doctor or technician if we are pregnant. Most people are aware that a lead smock is used to prevent radiation effects harming our reproductive organs during an x-ray. At least one radiologist warns that the scans can be harmful despite industry claims that there is so little radiation emitted as to be harmless.

In addition, there are privacy concerns about the images of airline passengers’ naked bodies and the retention of the images by “police agencies”.

Remember, whatever the reason, you can opt out of body scans at the airport.